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Matlock Bath: Holy Trinity Choir, Procession of Witness, 1935
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Choristers at the entrance to Station Approach
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Matlock Bath's first vicarage




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A series of eleven photographs marking a religious parade through the village streets. Amongst the participants were the choir of Matlock Bath's Holy Trinity Church. They were taking part in a Procession of Witness and Call to Repentance held by the Archbishop of York, Dr. Temple, on Ash Wednesday, 1935 (6th March), so on the first day of Lent in that year. The Procession consisted of massed choirs and clergy from the churches in the district as well as representatives from other organisations.

They were captured on camera by Mr. Harry Gill but are all from the collection of the late Cyril Edmonds, the owner of the Cumberland Cavern, as his two sons were part of the parade. These pictures are photographs from his family album.



Members of the clergy leaving Matlock Bath's Vicarage,
which was then on Brunswood Road.
The photograph shows
The Bishop of Derby, the Archbishop of York (right)
with Canon G. A. Hazelhurst of Cromford in front[1].


They were to march along North and South Parades to Matlock Bath's Holy Trinity Church where they would attend a service conducted by the vicar of Matlock Bath, the Rev. Arthur Phibbs.



The clergymen assembling on the road below the Parochial Hall,
with the Archbishop and Bishop at the back.


In addition to the Archbishop of York and the vicar of Matlock Bath, the other clergymen present included the Bishop of Derby, the Rt. Rev. Courtney Pearce, the Archdeacon of Derby, the Ven. E. Spencer Noakes, the Revs. A. Urling Smith the Rector of St. Giles', R. Griffiths the Rector of St. Helen's, Darley Dale and C. F. W. Whiteside, the Curate at St. Giles' and Curate-in-Charge of St. John's. The Nonconformist ministers who took part were the Revs. T. Greener Gardner of Matlock Bank Methodist Church, J. Johnstone Jones from Matlock Congregational Church, and W. Smart from the Lady Glenorchy Congregational Chapel near Masson Mill[2].


Procession 1


Having assembled at the Parochial Hall, this photograph shows the all male group pausing outside the Midland Hotel before the parade got underway. They were scheduled to leave Station Approach at 3.30p.m.[3] Only three Matlock Bath choristers are on this first picture and Cyril Rowland Edmonds is the third boy from the right. The clergy are at the back of the line.

The Bishop and Archbishop pass the entrance to Station Approach,
followed by representatives of various local organisations.

Local people were watching as the Procession began to walk down North Parade.
The Midland Hotel and the entrance to the Promenade can be seen behind the marchers.

Procession 2


The seventh image (above) shows Matlock Bath's choir on their way to Church and singing as they marched; they were passing the Fish Pond where there are some large cars in the car park. Several more choristers have been identified in this picture, although they are not easy to see here. Frank Evans, the brothers Frank and Jack Clay and Theodore Aspey all took part. Behind them are men from other churches. It is interesting to see how long the parade actually was, especially as we don't know whether Matlock Bath choir was at the front. Right at the back, marching behind the men and boys in their surplices and cassocks, are a small group of people who are also part of the parade. They are all holding up two North Western buses; the buses would not have been able to drive past them as it would not have been deemed to be respectful.



Senior clergy preparing to enter Holy Trinity church for the service.
The Archbishop was holding his sermon.
Note the two railwaymen behind them (there were another two, but their faces are hidden).


The sermon was given by the Archbishop. He also dedicated a number of gifts received by the Parish Church which had been made anonymously in the previous months, including new kneelers, redecorating the chancel, carpets on the chancel steps and in the choir stalls, two sets of electric lighting and putting the churchyard in order. The Duchess of Devonshire was amongst the large congregation[2]. Mr. Benjamin F. O'Dowda and Mr. A. W. Whittaker, the churchwardens, and Dr. Clifford William Sparks, the Secretary of the Matlock Bath Parochial Church Council, also attended the service. Mr. G. W. T. Smith, the headmaster of the Matlock Town schools, played the organ[1]. The collection was in aid of the Bishop of Derby's Appeal Fund and Holy Trinity Church expenses.


Procession 3


The ninth picture shows the choir returning from Holy Trinity Church after the service - and still singing. They had reached the Fountain Baths and Derwent House on North Parade, where someone is peering out of the window. Cyril Rowland Edmonds, who was to die in the Second World War, is the chorister immediately below the edge of the sign; he is looking towards the camera. Warren Boden, who ran Hodgkinson's Hotel at that time, is on the far right.


Procession 4


The column of choristers with their police escort had now rounded the corner and were passing Fernie Bank and the houses of Fountain Villas. You can see the monkey puzzle trees in the gardens. Raymond Edmonds is on the far right, at the head of the parade. The sign on the lamp post reads "Bus Stops on Request". Mrs. O'Dowda is almost certainly the woman to the left of the lamp post, standing watching the parade.



Clergymen parading past Fountain Villas after the service.


At the end of the proceedings they were treated to the tea that had been laid on at the Parochial Hall. The Archbishop had his tea at the Vicarage, but he afterwards paid a short visit to the public tea which had been provided with the help of Mrs. O'Dowda, Mrs. Randle, Mrs. Oliver, Mrs. Mosley, Mrs. Wyvill, Mrs. Slawson, Mrs Doxey, Mrs. Clay, Miss Riley, Misses Hollingsworth, Webster, Chadwick, Ludlam, Ledbetter and Holmes[2]. He then returned to York by train from Chesterfield station[1].


Photographs in the collection of and provided by and © Christine Leila Hill.
Photographs by Harry Gill.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only

References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 8 March 1935.
[2] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 7 March 1935
[3] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 21 February 1935